BEIJING (AP) — The head of the women’s professional tennis tour is questioning the legitimacy of a retraction Chinese state media says was from a Grand Slam doubles champion who has accused a former top government official of sexual assault.
WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon said that a statement attributed to Peng Shuai “only raises my concerns as to her safety and whereabouts.”
Peng is a 35-year-old from China and a former No. 1-ranked player in women’s doubles.
She won titles at Wimbledon in 2013 and the French Open in 2014.
She wrote in a lengthy social media post earlier this month that a former vice premier had forced her to have sex despite repeated refusals.
Since going public, Peng has not been seen in public. China has also blocked the story from the internet in the country.
Several high-profile tennis players have spoken out about Peng's safety.
In a statement on Twitter, Naomi Osaka said, "Censorship is never ok at any cost," Osaka said. "I hope Peng Shuai and her family are safe and ok."
On Nov. 14, tennis icon Billie Jean King said, "Hoping that Peng Shuai is found safe and that her accusations are fully investigated."